For his confirmation hearing, Kerry would go before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the panel he has chaired since Vice President Biden departed the Senate in 2009.
The next-senior Democrat on the panel is Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), but she said this week that she plans to continue chairing the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Aides confirmed that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the third-ranking Democrat on the committee, is poised to take over the Foreign Relations panel and chair Kerry’s confirmation hearing.
The White House has not said when it will announce other Cabinet picks, including for the Pentagon, but further announcements are most likely to wait until after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Hagel issued an apology Friday for 1998 comments deriding a Clinton administration ambassadorial nominee as “openly aggressively gay.” Hagel said the remarks about James Hormel were insensitive.
“They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights,” Hagel said, using the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered people. “I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families,” Hagel added.